Judging from the results of yesterday’s poll where I asked you would be the Cat’s MVP this year…. it appears that you like Patrick Patterson. You REALLY like Patrick Patterson. Patterson took a whopping 82% in the poll as YOUR choice for MVP, outdistancing John Wall’s 12%, Darius Miller with 5%, and Orton and Cousins sharing 1%. As some people messaged, Wall may actually have better stats, but PPatt will have the heart and the leadership to make this year special. Plus Patterson deserves the adoration for turning down the NBA money to take a shot at number #8.
Now today’s poll concerns the 2019 recruiting class and which three players are essential to the 2019 season. Let’s assume that Kentucky has the season we all dream of and Patterson, Wall, and Cousins all bolt to the pros and Harris and Perry graduate. This would leave UK with the following roster and bout 5-6 spots to fill:
PG – Bledsoe
SG – Dodson
SF – Miller
PF – Harrelson
C – Orton
B – Hood
B – Liggins
Currently UK is pursuing about 9 pretty big names to fill the void in 2019. Let’s assume that Calipari has the batting average of an All Star outfielder and can close three of these players. Personally, I think he can close more, but for the sake of argument, which three of the following recruits would you realistically expect to see on the UK roster in 2019?
PG – BRANDON KNIGHT
The buzz has shifted a lot to UK’s favor for the #1 PG (and arguably #1 player) in the 2019 class. Some people cite UK’s reputation as “Point Guard U” as the reason that Knight is a virtual lock for UK, but he has remained tight lipped about a leader. I think he will be tough to pry away from Florida but he seems to be the sure thing averaging 31.8 points, 8.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists a game last year.
SG/SF – HARRISON BARNES
The other player who would challenge Knight for number 1 overall is Barnes and from recent news, he seems to be very high on Cal and UK as well. There is a buzz that Duke is the leader, but then weren’t they the leader for John Wall as well? Barnes can step in at SG or SF right away and averaged 19.7 points and 8.8 rebounds last year. He also has a 84″ wingspan.
PG – KYRIE IRVING
Irving is pretty much the number 2 PG after Knight and his Godfather is UK assistant coach Rod Strickland. While some people say that makes Irving a sure shot for UK, he has not publicly stated so and will be naming his top 5 schools by the end of the summer. Irving has fantastic range from beyond the 3 point line and can definitely score, averaging 26.7 points as a sophomore. Some reports have Tom Crean and IU making up ground on Irving.
SG/SF – JELAN KENDRICK
UK is trying to make up ground in the recruitment of Kendrick and have offered the 6’6 Junior from Atlanta. Kendrick would appear to be a natural for the DDMO as he excels in an up tempo situation and knows when to pull up or attack the rim. UK’s main competition appears to be Georgia and Georgia Tech.
PF – CJ LESLIE
John Walls Word of God teammate is reportedly showing great interest in UK and Cal has been recruiting him for a while. Calipari took advantage of the John Wall visits to see Leslie as well and now John Wall is acting as chief recruiter, telling Leslie how great UK is. Leslie has been described as “an athletic freak” and would fill a huge void with both Patterson and Cousins leaving. UK will have to break Gator and Tar Heel hearts (again) to land him.
SG – DORON LAMB
This flirtation has been going on for a while and it looks like it may take a little longer to land this one. Lamb recently stated he would not decide until the middle of his basketball season but UK has been in a good position for a while. From some accounts, he is Cal’s number one target and the interest seems to be mutual. He is one of the best scoring guards in the the class and will also be visiting Kansas soon.
PF – ADREIAN PAYNE
Payne is another of the top PF’s but you are not hearing a lot of UK buzz with him. He has been offered, but apparently is a mystery where UK stands with him. Some scouting reports show he may have problems with motivation but he has the ability to be the best big man and especially the best shot blocker in the draft. He made a visit to UK on 5/16 but not a lot of news about him.
SG – MYCHAL PARKER
Parker is kind a mystery as well. He recently visited UK, the same time as Doron Lamb, but has not received an offer yet. He gets a lot of points moving toward the basket and can make things happen but from some accounts needs to work on his defense. Parker would be a nice grab but one wonders if Cal is waiting on Lamb or others before offering.
PG – JOE JACKSON
I hesitated putting him on the list because I fully expect him to commit to Memphis … however you keep hearing reports that he still likes Calipari and UK. He is a super scoring point guard and may be the best at creating scoring opportunities for himself. Only drawback I would see with him is that he and Bledsoe would give us a pair of smaller PG’s and we know that Cal like big PG’s. But then, from what we hear, Bledsoe’s talent has superseded his size and you would expect the same is true with Jackson.
So Wildcat fans, who do YOU like if we can have just three of the above list. Once again, with what Cal has done, I would not be shocked at him pulling 4 or 5, but to keep it interesting, let’s keep the list at 3. Personally, I like Doron Lamb, Kyrie Irving, and CJ Leslie. I am looking forward to see what the BBN thinks.